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Dealing with HIV fatigue prompts many approaches
  By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In older patients living with HIV/AIDS, measures ranging from use of vitamin supplements to acupuncture are among those employed to combat associated fatigue, according to a study of 49 such individuals.
As lead investigator Dr. Karolynn Siegel told Reuters Health, "fatigue is recognized to be a prevalent symptom among HIV- infected adults. However, what has not been recognized and is documented by this study is the wide range of self-care strategies and alternative therapies patients adopt in an effort to manage this symptom."
In the May issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs, Dr. Siegel and colleagues at Columbia University, New York note that they interviewed 33 men and 16 women aged 50 years and more. The group consisted of equal numbers of blacks, whites and Hispanics.
Among frequently used coping strategies were dietary changes, vitamin supplementation, rest, exercise and prescribed medications for anemia and vitamin B12 and testosterone deficiency.
In addition, alternative medical approaches such as acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies and special juices were also popular.
Moreover, Dr. Siegel continued, "the findings also indicate that while there may be many underlying causes of their fatigue--both psychological and physiological--most patients attribute their fatigue at least in part to the virus itself."
This shows, she concluded, that "fatigue is a common component of patients' illness representation of HIV disease."
AIDS Patient Care STDs 2004;18:275-288.


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